September 19November 1, 2003
The White Bear and Other Unwanted Thoughts, a new Public Art Installation and Performance by Anya Lewin and Lara Odell
This exhibition of work, created during a 4 week Art Works! artists residency funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Brown Bear, settling down for its winter sleep, reminds itself to never think of The White Bear. As its heart slows to eight beats a minute, The Brown Bear finds it can think of nothing else. The White Bear, the unwanted thought, haunts The Brown Bears day and night dreams.
Two bears hibernate in CEPAs window gallery on Main Street. As they sleep, images of distinct landscapes reflect in the window glass. In these vast expanses a reoccurring narrative is played out. The Brown Bear is either trying to escape the presence of the ghost bear or to search for proof of its existence.
Peepholes offer views into the dreams of these winter sleepers.
In this non-linear adventure where nothing much happens, Lewin and Odell don realistic looking bear costumes. Their human faces show to remind the viewer they are not "all" or "pure" bear. They, much like the Kermode Bear (a black bear with a white coat), are an example of an evolutionary twist, or a de-evolutionary regression caught in the middle of being themselves and something other.
Some notes on Lewin and Odells Collaboration:
Lewin and Odell met while attending graduate school at SUNY Buffalo. Their collaboration began in 1999 with a 20 minute single screen video Grandma Baba and Little Boris. Lewin relocated to England in 2000 and while both Lewin and Odell have their own individual practices, the collaboration has been continuous. Humour and melancholy are at the core of Lewin and Odells work. They perform characters that are slightly off, that one believes while dis-believing, and merge together time frames, genres, historic fact and imaginary worlds. They use land/cityscapes as sets for their invented characters and create movies and installations around their recorded performances. The work is alive in both the finished installations and films as well as in the performances created during the process.
Anya Lewin is an artist, organizer of events, and educator. She has made single channel videotapes, installation, performance, essays, and work for the web environment. Her work has been exhibited internationally in such places as Beijing, Belfast, Cuba, New York, London, Paris, San Francisco and Siberia. She was the founder and programmer of Cornershop, a cross-arts gallery and performance space in Buffalo NY that ran from 1997 to 2000. She has most recently curated Another Cinema, a series of screen based events which challenge traditional notions of cinema, and Hybrid Discourse (co-curated with Joasia Krysa) a series of events investigating digital media in the context of the Culture Industry. She lives in England and is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Plymouth.
Lara Odell was born and raised in Long Beach, CA. She is an artist working with video, performance, print and drawing. She received a BFA from Alfred University and an interdisciplinary MAH from the University at Buffalo, in the departments of Media Study and English. She has worked at the Institute for Electronic Arts at Alfred University as an instructor of courses in new media, and as a collaborative and technical assistant to visiting resident artists. In addition to her ongoing collaborations with Anya Lewin, she is also working on large digital prints of empty swimming pools, and small drawings of people in bear and duck suits. She is currently designing urban camouflage clothing with collaborator Monica Duncan. She lives in the city of Orange in California.